Right on the heels of an unbelievable 2017, Orange Culture, the profoundly unique label for the non-conforming millennial, starts off the year with a brand new collaboration with photographer, Isabella Agbaje.

In this article, Adebayo Oke Lawal of menswear brand, Orange Culture, and Isabella Agbaje talk about bringing their ethereal tale to life and celebrating humanity through individuality.

(A Nasty Boy): Orange Culture is considered a movement, not just a fashion label. In light of the current socio-political climate in the world, especially with regards to marginalization and equal rights, what impact do you hope your brand will have on this generation? 

(Adebayo Oke-Lawal): Liberate the minds of many Nigerians – we teach our consumers to be progressive in thought.

(ANB): Right now, fashion is not just clothes, it’s also ART. How do you manage your creative process and how do you keep your work fresh and relevant? 

(AOL): It’s a difficult balance, but I honestly focus more on creating clothes that are true to the brand’s stories but also wearable. I think it’s about what art means to you? Art doesn’t always have to be overstated and overtly elaborate, especially when it comes to mixing it with fashion. I think, for us, we know what our art is and that helps us to create balance.

(ANB): From magazines to blogs, you’ve been hailed as one of Nigeria’s biggest fashion influencers. Who excites you the most when it comes to fashion these days?  

(AOL): Solange, always; Luka Sabbat; the Smith kids; plus, I’ve always liked Pharell and Andre 3000.

(ANB): The pieces used in this shoot are taken from your new collection titled: “Don’t You Trust Me.” You’ve been able to succinctly tie each collection you’ve had so far with incendiary narratives. What motivated this season’s story, and is there a constant pressure to continue telling stories with each collection?  

(AOL): Trust in relationships with people, with lovers and with the government. The pressure comes only when I’m not experiencing life because I’m super busy. I’m learning to give myself time to experience life and be inspired enough to recreate.

(ANB): From Lakin Ogunbanwo to Daniel Obasi, you have a proclivity for collaborating with daring photographers in bringing your visions to life. What was it like working with Isabella Agbaje? 

(AOL): I met Isabella when she was shooting my dear friend, Temi, for A Nasty Boy. We connected on set because she had quite an adventurous eye and had said to me she’d love to shoot Orange Culture. Once the right project came by, I knew she’d understand the use of color, the need to be able to fantasize and have fun – so I called her to photograph this fictional tale.

(ANB): Androgyny and gender fluidity are two recurring themes when it comes to Orange Culture projects and this collaboration is no different. With bold make-up, feminine jewellery, bright colors and hair that would make even Somkele Idahlama jealous, what inspired this project and what is the story behind it? 

(AOL): An Unusual Fantasy. Orange Culture has a little fun visiting an otherworldly character with a love for color, fairy dust and beautiful clothing.

Isabella Agbaje

(ANB): Most of your pictures show a clear love affair between you and the city of Lagos, what about the city excites you the most?

(IA): I think I’m very fascinated with the “Alté” crowd and basically the general artistry of the creatives in the city.

(ANB): What inspired the Orange Culture collaboration and how did the creative process play out?

(IA): I’m a believer of fate and energy. I mean, we met during a shoot for A Nasty Boy’s, which was my first major shoot. He called me up later for the shoot and the whole creative process, which included Daniel Obasi, was just incredible.

(ANB): The project pushes gender and label norms, was there any hesitation when the project presented itself and what are your thoughts on individuality and differences when it comes to humans and the human connection?

(IA): No. I’ve had people see the drafts and feel some sort of way, but I’m not shook by any reaction to it. It’s important not to think about it too much; the whole story is about the visual artistry.

Photography, Edit and Props by Isabella Agbaje
Make Up by Micheal @mike_makeovers
Hair by Kachi Igbokwe @kach_i
Creative direction by Adebayo Okelawal
@theorangenerd and Daniel Dasidy @iamdasidy
Model – Mofe Fafowora @itsmofy

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.